Breast cancer risks that you need to talk about with your doctor
Knowing what factors could put you at risk for breast cancer can help you make better life choices to lower your risk for breast cancer.
Knowing the risk factors for breast cancer can help you know more about what you can do to lower your risk for breast cancer.
1. Family history
Did you know that your family history can have an impact on the risk that you could be diagnosed with breast cancer?
If your mother or sister has been diagnosed with breast cancer, then your risk for getting the disease doubles. If both of them have been diagnosed, then the chance of getting diagnosed with breast cancer spikes up to 5 times.
Age has already been established as one of the risk factors that can contribute to breast cancer. Women who are under 40 are less likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women above 70.
The average age of women who get diagnosed with breast cancer is 62, so that's an important consideration regarding the risk of breast cancer.
3. Breast density
Women with denser breasts have a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women whose breasts are less dense.
Breast density is also something that can be inherited, so if your mother had dense breasts, then your breasts are probably dense as well.
How do you measure breast density? Mammograms are a good way of measuring how dense a woman's breasts are. But in some cases, an MRI might be needed.
4. Menstrual history
Women who had their first period before age 12 have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who had it later.
This is because the development of your breasts go hand in hand with your menstruation, so the earlier interaction means that your breasts have had more time to interact with the hormones that can increase the risk for breast cancer.
5. Birth control pills
Some types of birth control pills have synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone, which can change a woman's hormone levels, and increase the risk of breast cancer.
Thankfully, the risk is only marginal, and the effects are temporary. Your risk level goes down 5 years after you stop taking birth control pills.
6. Late pregnancies
Women who become mothers before 35 tend to be 'protected' from the risks of breast cancer compared to older women.
That's because during pregnancy, a woman's breasts grows, and if there's already some genetic damage in the breast, this growth can cause those damaged parts to grow as well, increasing the risk of breast cancer.
Obesity, specifically in post-menopausal women can significantly increase the risk of having breast cancer.
Women who are obese have a 30-60% increased chance to get breast cancer compared to slimmer women. So if you're a bit on the heavier side, it's important to try and make some changes in order to be healthier.
8. Lack of physical activity
Women who are physically active have a 25% lower chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer compared to women who have the least amount of physical exercise.
This is because lower body fat can help prevent breast cancer since the hormones that cause breast cancer usually come from fatty tissue.